Definition of robber baron in US English:

robber baron


  • A person who has become rich through ruthless and unscrupulous business practices (originally with reference to prominent US businessmen in the late 19th century)

    ‘both political parties served the interests of the corporate robber barons’
    ‘robber barons paid their employees bare subsistence wages’
    • ‘He has set up a $22 billion foundation, in part to rescue his reputation from the charge that he is a modern-day robber baron.’
    • ‘The reality is that if you monopolists would stop thinking like the robber barons of old and start thinking like the entrepreneurs of today, you would encounter another path.’
    • ‘The company may be taken over by a robber baron such as Maxwell who clears out the pension fund for his own personal gain.’
    • ‘Great fortunes have usually been built by industrial tycoons, sometimes known as robber barons.’
    • ‘Henry Huttleston Rogers, a well-known robber baron who made millions as a vice president of Standard Oil, bought Atlas Tack and brought it to Fairhaven in 1901.’


Early 19th century: originally denoting a feudal lord who engaged in plundering.


robber baron